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GPOs – Valued Partners in Healthcare
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The healthcare group purchasing organization (GPO) members of HSCA work closely with their provider partners across the continuum of care to reduce cost, add value, and improve outcomes for patients. Below you'll find some narratives that help to demonstrate why GPOs are valued partners in healthcare.

 

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Intalere OptiPrice Advantage Provides Real-Time Product Pricing Transparency, Significant Cost Reduction Opportunities for Arizona Hospital

Posted By HSCA, Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Challenge

Product costs represent the second most significant component of hospital
operating costs, following labor expense. A recent report estimates 40 percent
of a hospital’s expense budget is attributed to medical/surgical supplies.
Supplies are a significant contributor to escalating healthcare expenditures,
a fact supported by a recent study that revealed supplies and devices
represented 24.4 percent of the average increase in cost per discharge.

Among the most critical struggles hospital supply chain executives face today
is not truly knowing fair market prices for the goods they are purchasing on an
everyday basis. This is due to a pervasive lack of information – or a lack of cost
transparency – about the fair market value of medical and surgical supplies.

Today, hospitals may spend months gathering information to negotiate a single
pricing amendment. Even then, they may lack meaningful pricing information
with which to negotiate. Such was the case for Tim Ingram, director of materials
management, Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) in Arizona. “What is
incredibly valuable to any facility and sourcing manager is a strategic tool
which enables you to compare the price you are paying for medical surgical
products to the price other hospitals from across the country are paying on the
exact same products,” he said.

The Solution

Having used these types of tools throughout his career with varying levels of
success, Ingram was intrigued, but cautious when his Intalere representative
approached him about a new solution, Intalere OptiPrice AdvantageSM. “I am
always willing to further explore anything that puts us in a better position to
get best pricing,” he said.

Intalere OptiPrice Advantage helps balance a facility’s negotiating power
with suppliers and significantly reduces the cycle time to renegotiate pricing
agreements. The solution utilizes medical surgical product pricing data
submitted monthly by more than 400 hospitals from across the country to
the Intalere OptiPrice Advantage database, which is refreshed on a daily basis.
Participating facilities represent both Intalere members and non-members.

Members can analyze spend by categories – such as stents, orthopedic
implants, endomechanical, ICDs, osteobiologics, etc. – to determine the exact
cost savings available in comparison to what other underperforming hospitals
(based on total spend and market share) with a similar product mix are paying.

The data-driven analytical design can be filtered and formatted for customized
views to enhance the depth and breadth of benchmarking needs. Intalere OptiPrice
Advantage also generates a revised price list by SKU so members can seamlessly
integrate this list with a pre-approved pricing amendment template. Intalere
OptiPrice Advantage benefits customers by making them more:

• Efficient – Reduce negotiation preparation from six months to a few hours.
• Transparent – Access real medical surgical product prices paid by peer
hospitals with first-hand market-share and dollar volume comparison.
• Tactical – Quickly gather trusted, timely data to strengthen negotiating position and achieve a clear path to savings.

The system is extremely easy to use and can be learned in less than one hour.
Intalere also provides ongoing customer support.

The Outcome

“This tool is really the epitome of making evidence-based decisions, which is
becoming increasingly important in today’s healthcare marketplace. The real-time
analytics, national scope, comparison modules and service line features give it an
advantage over other similar tools I have used, and it really makes you comfortable
and knowledgeable in terms of ‘putting you in the driver’s seat’ when negotiating,”
said Ingram.

He was also impressed with the immediate value that the tool could drive,
explaining that, within two days of implementing Intalere OptiPrice Advantage,
YRMC was able to identify more than $100,000 in price reductions on just one
product. A recent negotiation on a contract for cardiovascular implants brought a
savings of $211,000. Ingram is targeting more than $3 million in cost avoidance this
year, with a strong assist from Intalere OptiPrice Advantage.

Intalere’s partner in bringing Intalere OptiPrice Advantage to members is BroadJump
LLC, which is focused on delivering supply chain analytics that drive greater
efficiency and enable hospitals and health systems to manage their supply costs
on-demand. The BroadJump platform is powered by the fastest growing and most
up-to-date repository of healthcare supply chain data available anywhere.

Another advantage of the intuitive, real-time platform is in the utilization
opportunities it reveals. Ingram pointed to a situation where switching purchasing
patterns, not products, and going from purchasing in 20 per box packs, as opposed
to 10 per box packs, brought a quick savings of over $17,000.

“You don’t have to necessarily move away from products, depending on the balance
of cost and outcomes. But you are providing physicians and others with reliable
data, allowing for more informed decisions,” he said.

Tags:  Arizona  Cost  Intalere 

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Intalere Member Yavapai Regional Medical Center Saves More than $850,000 on Physician Preference Items through Intalere’s Clinical Advantage Solution

Posted By HSCA, Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Challenge

Yavapai Regional Medical Center in Prescott, Ariz., a two-facility acute care hospital-based IDN, was faced with the realities that challenge many healthcare facilities today – ever-shrinking margins.

“We were looking at challenges in the organization related to reduced margins,” said Dorance Dillon, director of Supply Chain Management at Yavapai. “With our case mix, in essence 75 cents of every revenue dollar was coming through a combination of federal and state reimbursement. With that, facing continued shrinking margins, we needed to do something.” 

Among their strategies, Yavapai worked with a consulting group to engage their entire organization in Lean process principles and more fully partnering with a group purchasing organization to drive cost savings. “We selected Intalere for reasons that involved attention to detail, supporting us operationally, and also from the standpoint of the identified savings that Intalere can and would provide,” said Dillon.

One of the biggest challenges Yavapai faced was in the area of physician preference items (PPI). Almost half of all the medical surgical supplies used in U.S. hospitals are physician preference items (PPIs), including devices and implants. Yavapai’s major areas of spend revolved around those including cardiac rhythm management, total joint reconstruction for hips and knees, spine hardware, bone products and trauma/fracture management implants.

The Solution

Through their Intalere Clinical Advantage® program (ICAP), a proven strategy for reducing high-dollar implant costs while positively impacting clinical outcomes and physician support, Intalere immediately set about collecting data and conducting a market analysis. With hundreds of members across the country, Intalere was able to provide benchmarks and pricing information to bring context to the price points Yavapai was paying. Yavapai was then able to leverage this benchmarking and price point information to reduce their operational costs or direct pricing on the products.

Gaining physician support and buy-in is an absolutely critical piece to the success of any PPI project. Engaging and collaborating with physicians to develop key relationships supported through evidence-based outcomes is a foundational piece of the Intalere Clinical Advantage program. 

“The ACAP team had the ability to engage our medical staff to obtain these price points and do that without offending any of our medical staff physicians,” said Dillon. “They presented the data and information while also explaining very specifically how they arrived at those numbers, including taking into account that Yavapai is in a rural setting.” Dillon and the physicians were also engaged by the way the information was presented to them. “They said these are real prices that you are entitled to. Go back to your vendors and share this.” Using this particular approach served to educate and enlighten the physicians, giving them comfort to understand that the process was not about forcing them to move away from certain products they might have been trained on or been comfortable with, but to support them and help work collaboratively to reduce the expenses associated with the products they used.

The Outcome

Yavapai was able to identify some quick wins and significant savings. In the cardiac rhythm management category, they were able to reduce expenses by 10-15 percent, a savings of $350,000. In the area of total joint replacement, savings was $500,000. “A cost reduction of up to 20 percent is quite significant and these are savings that have trickled right down to our bottom line,” said Dillon. “But just as important, it does not require the physicians to change what they are using and it did not change anything as it relates to the reps that support our organization.” 

A key ingredient Dillon stressed is that while many organizations or potential partners can supply data, how you get from the page to the actual implementation is the true driver of success. It is paramount to have pricing transparency and subject matter experts that can interpret the data to your organization. What is the organization? Where are they? Where do they provide services? Factors such as these affect pricing within the market. “And I think that is where Intalere really shined,” he said. “In terms of their team understanding this organization, coming on site, meeting not only my team members and certain executives within the organization, but also being able to engage the physicians and surgeons where they live and being able to present a very compelling case.”

“Intalere has been a very good partner. They have guaranteed their savings,” said Dillon. “We still have other opportunities to work through, but I could absolutely state that Intalere has come through with flying colors to support what they said they would do.”

Tags:  Arizona  Intalere  Savings 

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Member Best Practice Spotlight: Verde Valley Medical Center – Medication Strategy for Value-Based Performance

Posted By HSCA, Thursday, January 14, 2016

As we recognize American Diabetes Month, this week’s blog post looks at how Verde Valley MedicalCenter initiated a medication compliance program to benefit patients with chronic conditions including diabetes.

Issue
Verde Valley Medical Center’s (VVMC’s) performance data identified an opportunity to meet the needs of the diverse local community of Native Americans (Yavapai Apache Nation), Mexican immigrants and senior citizens who face challenges in medication compliance.

Solution
Through a collaborative effort involving pharmacy, nursing and medical staff, VVMC identified the most common medications a patient is prescribed at discharge and developed unique cards to enhance performance outcomes – 18 “drug family” cards and two “take home facts” information cards. The cards are provided to patients during care as medication is dispensed and at discharge during medication reconciliation. This gives the caregivers and the patients easy-to-understand information “in hand” and provides the opportunity for caregivers to have ongoing discussions with patients, especially in the management of chronic conditions – diabetes, cardiac and respiratory therapy, as well as pain and antibiotic use.

Outcome
The data improved from patient satisfaction and government mandated value-based purchasing perspectives. Re-admission rates decreased while patient satisfaction, education and discharge instructions increased. Additional stakeholders in the community were identified.

About Verde Valley Medical Center
Formed in 1939, Verde Valley Medical Center is a full-service, 99-bed, non-profit hospital serving North Central Arizona. Four locations serve the Verde Valley and surrounding communities: Cottonwood campus, Sedona campus, Camp Verde Health Center, and Village of Oak Creek Health Center. More than 800 professional and support staff are employed at VVMC. The Medical Staff is comprised of nearly 100 physicians representing 25 medical specialties. We are a member of Northern Arizona Healthcare, which also serves patients through Flagstaff Medical Center, Northern Arizona Homecare and Northern Arizona
Hospice.

Tags:  Arizona  Intalere  Safety/Quality 

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Intalere Member Verde Valley Medical Center Improves Patient Safety and Reduces Patient Falls by 40 Percent

Posted By HSCA, Friday, September 18, 2015
Updated: Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Challenge

Nurses are widely recognized as the foundation of the healthcare system. Oftentimes, they are the leaders in helping an organization achieve successful outcomes in clinical, patient safety, operational quality and regulatory compliance. And with the advent of pay-for-performance models, registered nursing is becoming an increasingly important job with enhanced responsibilities. Such is the case at Verde Valley Medical Center (VVMC) in north central Arizona. When the number of patient falls was rapidly rising within the organization, it was the nursing staff that took the lead at addressing the issue and helping to create a system-wide improvement initiative. 

VVMC began as a small outpatient clinic in 1939, but has since grown into a full-service, 99-bed, nonprofit hospital with four locations and more than 800 professional and support staff. VVMC is a member of Northern Arizona Healthcare, which also serves patients through Flagstaff Medical Center, Sedona Medical Center, Northern Arizona Homecare, Northern Arizona Hospice and multiple outpatient clinics.

“Our organization had policies in place and a system for reporting patient falls, yet our fall rate increased significantly in one year,” said Cat Singletary, manager for Performance Improvement and Regulatory Compliance at VVMC. “Clearly something was broken and our nursing staff was instrumental in telling us what works, what doesn’t and what needs to change. They are in the trenches every day and they have the best understanding of how to help make the care we provide to our patients better.”

The Solution

The Quality Department at VVMC created a multi-disciplinary committee from Nursing, IT, Pharmacy, Therapy Services, Risk and Compliance Departments of both VVMC and Flagstaff Medical Center. This new Falls Prevention Committee met monthly to review huddle sheets, event reporting, policy, equipment, patient and staff education, documentation procedures, etc. 

“The Falls Prevention Committee requested that both facilities conduct a baseline assessment and to interview staff. Internal audits were conducted and the data was shared with the committee. This information was critical in identifying the gaps in our processes and procedures,” noted Singletary. 

One example, the nursing staff was not completing the huddle sheet because it was too cumbersome and it did not mirror the fields in the patient events reporting system (Remote Data Entry (RDE)). 

Another example, the patient alarms were used sporadically since policy did not state it was a requirement. In addition, VVMC’s staff worked with their Evidence Based Practice and Research Department to identify best practices on patient falls.

“Our goal is to provide exceptional care, always. Through our research, we identified that educating the patient and their caregivers was key as well as posting visual prompts in the rooms to remind patients to ‘call, don’t fall,’” said Lori Stevens, VVMC’s Director of Nursing.

At the conclusion of the assessments, interviews and evidence-based research, the Falls Prevention Committee took several weeks to develop and then launch their initiative across the organization.

First and foremost, forms and policies were updated and standardized. The post-fall huddle sheet was condensed and the information being captured was aligned with the information in the RDE system. The committee worked closely with Intalere’s supplier Posey to test and roll out new chair, bed and bathroom alarms on all units of both hospitals – which are now required for all patients and even documented in the huddle sheet, RDE system and patient medical record.

Nurses have the greatest amount of patient contact during hospitalization and are the best suited to assess the risk for patient falls. This is where attention was focused. 

“We updated our training documents, posted educational flyers, attended daily huddles, revised our mandatory falls learning module and conducted several other education sessions for our staff.  All in all, we touched more than 1,000 nurses through this process. Nurses are most likely to witness falls and have the greatest power to prevent falls. Therefore, providing them the education and tools they need to be successful was the focus point for our initiative,” noted Stevens.

VVMC took a more proactive approach to new patient and family education than it had in the past. Call Don’t Fallsignage was placed in all patient rooms and bathrooms.

Plus, the community was invited to a Health and Safety Fair at its facility which included education about falls prevention and other population health management issues, but also offered additional activities including blood pressure checks, eye screenings and well woman health checks.

The Patient Falls Committee also implemented STATIT, a real-time analytic software program that is geared towards continual improvement. This program provides users a simple yet powerful means to access, track, trend, analyze, compare and contrast data in ways that provide insights from which to make objective, sustainable and defensible decisions.

By utilizing STATIT, both hospitals were able to collect data, identify trends and provide high quality fall reports to the nursing units and senior leadership. 

Singletary commented, “Through this whole process we discovered the importance of keeping patient falls at the top of our minds. Our Quality Department now attends all patient care huddles. These huddles happen every morning, Monday through Friday, for about five to ten minutes. Patient falls are reported on at each huddle, every time. Simply having this brief overview and knowing how many high-risk patients are currently in the unit can really impact the care we deliver to our patients.”

The Outcome

In nine months since implementing the new Patient Falls Initiative, VVMC achieved over 40 percent decrease in falls. This alone represents tremendous savings to the organization considering The Joint Commission reports that the average increase in a hospital's operational costs for a serious fall-related injury is more than $13,000, and the patient's length of stay increases by an average of 6.27 days.

“This was a huge quality improvement effort for our organization – the first large collaborative effort to create one unified nursing process between systems. Not only did we standardize processes between two hospitals, but we increased the safety of our patients, increased patient and family satisfaction and reduced the costs associated with patient falls,” said Singletary.

Costs for implementing the recommendations of the Patient Falls Committee were nominal to the organization. Most costs were associated with staff time at meetings and revising policies and forms. The Call Don’t Fallsignage was printed in-house to reduce expenses and the Supply Chain Department utilized the Intalere agreement with Posey for purchasing the new alarms.

Using best practices and listening to its staff continues to be a focus for the system. The organization is continuing the positive momentum by testing new shower chairs in its post-surgical care unit since the nursing staff voiced the need for a wider and sturdier chair to help prevent falls. 

“I’m extremely proud of our nursing team and the entire organization for their commitment in identifying patients at highest risk for falls and for developing falls-prevention strategies. While not every patient fall is preventable, I believe that the right combination of education, technology, care processes and focus can reduce the number of falls significantly and, more importantly, the injuries to patients they often cause,” said Stevens.

Tags:  Arizona  Intalere  Safety/Quality 

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Intalere Member Yavapai Regional Medical Center Saves More than $850,000 on Physician Preference Items through Intalere’s Clinical Advantage Solution

Posted By HSCA, Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Challenge

Yavapai Regional Medical Center in Prescott, Ariz., a two-facility acute care hospital-based IDN, was faced with the realities that challenge many healthcare facilities today – ever-shrinking margins.

“We were looking at challenges in the organization related to reduced margins,” said Dorance Dillon, director of Supply Chain Management at Yavapai. “With our case mix, in essence 75 cents of every revenue dollar was coming through a combination of federal and state reimbursement. With that, facing continued shrinking margins, we needed to do something.” 

Among their strategies, Yavapai worked with a consulting group to engage their entire organization in Lean process principles and more fully partnering with a group purchasing organization to drive cost savings. “We selected Intalere for reasons that involved attention to detail, supporting us operationally, and also from the standpoint of the identified savings that Intalere can and would provide,” said Dillon.

One of the biggest challenges Yavapai faced was in the area of physician preference items (PPI). Almost half of all the medical surgical supplies used in U.S. hospitals are physician preference items (PPIs), including devices and implants. Yavapai’s major areas of spend revolved around those including cardiac rhythm management, total joint reconstruction for hips and knees, spine hardware, bone products and trauma/fracture management implants.

The Solution

Through their Intalere Clinical Advantage® program (ACAP), a proven strategy for reducing high-dollar implant costs while positively impacting clinical outcomes and physician support, Intalere immediately set about collecting data and conducting a market analysis. With hundreds of members across the country, Intalere was able to provide benchmarks and pricing information to bring context to the price points Yavapai was paying. Yavapai was then able to leverage this benchmarking and price point information to reduce their operational costs or direct pricing on the products.

Gaining physician support and buy-in is an absolutely critical piece to the success of any PPI project. Engaging and collaborating with physicians to develop key relationships supported through evidence-based outcomes is a foundational piece of the Intalere Clinical Advantage program. 

“The ACAP team had the ability to engage our medical staff to obtain these price points and do that without offending any of our medical staff physicians,” said Dillon. “They presented the data and information while also explaining very specifically how they arrived at those numbers, including taking into account that Yavapai is in a rural setting.” Dillon and the physicians were also engaged by the way the information was presented to them. “They said these are real prices that you are entitled to. Go back to your vendors and share this.” Using this particular approach served to educate and enlighten the physicians, giving them comfort to understand that the process was not about forcing them to move away from certain products they might have been trained on or been comfortable with, but to support them and help work collaboratively to reduce the expenses associated with the products they used.

The Outcome

Yavapai was able to identify some quick wins and significant savings. In the cardiac rhythm management category, they were able to reduce expenses by 10-15 percent, a savings of $350,000. In the area of total joint replacement, savings was $500,000. “A cost reduction of up to 20 percent is quite significant and these are savings that have trickled right down to our bottom line,” said Dillon. “But just as important, it does not require the physicians to change what they are using and it did not change anything as it relates to the reps that support our organization.” 

A key ingredient Dillon stressed is that while many organizations or potential partners can supply data, how you get from the page to the actual implementation is the true driver of success. It is paramount to have pricing transparency and subject matter experts that can interpret the data to your organization. What is the organization? Where are they? Where do they provide services? Factors such as these affect pricing within the market. “And I think that is where Intalere really shined,” he said. “In terms of their team understanding this organization, coming on site, meeting not only my team members and certain executives within the organization, but also being able to engage the physicians and surgeons where they live and being able to present a very compelling case.”

“Intalere has been a very good partner. They have guaranteed their savings,” said Dillon. “We still have other opportunities to work through, but I could absolutely state that Intalere has come through with flying colors to support what they said they would do.”

Tags:  Arizona  Cost  Intalere 

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